EDMONTON, Canada -- Wang Shanshan scored early and China held on to stay alive at the Women's World Cup with a 1-0 knockout-round victory over upstart Cameroon on Saturday.
China, ranked No. 16 in the world, will play the winner of Monday night's game between the United States and Colombia. A number of players from the U.S. team watched the match at Commonwealth Stadium.
China was playing without its head coach Hao Wei on the sidelines, after he was sent off from the team's final group stage match against New Zealand.
Cameroon, No. 53, was the lowest ranked of the 16 teams that advanced to the elimination round. Many players remained on the field sobbing after the final whistle.
China advanced to the knockout stage by finishing second to host Canada in Group A. After falling 1-0 in the opener to the Canadians on Christine Sinclair's penalty kick in second-half stoppage time, China beat the Netherlands and played to a 2-all draw with New Zealand.
A ref ruled Hao interfered with New Zealand's Ria Percival on the sideline as she attempted to throw in the ball, and ejected him from the match. Because of the ejection, Hao had to part from his team once they arrived at the stadium. He watched from the stands.
Assistant Chang Weiwei stood in for Hao on the sidelines.
Wang Shanshan scored in the 12th minute, taking a feed from Li Donga off a corner kick and popping the ball past Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom.
Wang Lisi, who came into the match with a team-leading two goals in Canada, charged in on Ngo Ndom in the 50th minute, but stumbled and her kick went wide. Her stoppage time goal gave China a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the opening round.
Ngo Ndom came far out of the goal in the 60th minute and it almost cost her when Wang Shanshan's shot got past her, but the ball rolled just wide.
Cameroon pressured in the final minutes. Gaelle Enganamount, with her distinctive blond hair, looked to challenge China goalkeeper Fei Wang, but couldn't connect. Sub Henriette Akaba's header in the 87th minute sailed off the mark.
There was a scary moment in stoppage time when Han Peng collided with a Cameroon player and the two knocked heads. The collision caused a cut on Han's head, which trainers taped before leading her from the field. She returned to play the final few moments.
Cameroon, runner-up at the 2014 African championship, was making its first-ever appearance in the World Cup. The Lionesses were just the second African team to advance to the knockout stage after Nigeria in 1999.
In the group stage, Cameroon defeated Ecuador 6-0 before falling to Japan 2-1. But they pulled off a hard-fought 2-1 victory over No. 19 Switzerland in the group finale in Edmonton, sending their sizeable following of fans into a frenzy.
China has played in the World Cup six times, but missed out four years ago in Germany. The Steel Roses have never won a title, but they made the final in 1999, only to be defeated by the United States on penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl.
Cameroon came into the match with yellow cards on six of its players.